Saturday, August 9, 2008
Two of the vegetable/fruits I hated with a passion when growing up were eggplants and bitter gourd. I would almost throw up and start a hissy-fit every time my mother whipped some up. Those were some of the most awful eating moments because I would be sobbing and putting the eggplant/rice mixture in my mouth cheeks for a half-hour because I was too disgusted to swallow it. But it must have been around puberty, the time when people do stupid things and start getting smarter than they really are, that I began liking tons and tons of stir-fried eggplants with dried shrimp, a traditional South-East Asian delicacy.
The boyfriend however, has a strange dislike of all things mushy, and when eggplant is cooked perfectly, it's soft and stringy and hence I suppose, a tad bit squishy looking in a gross way. I decided I was just going to make him a jerk chicken panini instead and treat myself to a spicy eggplant salad for dinner.
This is an original recipe that comes from my yearning for eggplant and my love for goat's cheese. I recently bought a 4 pepper flavoured goat's cheese log, but you can use any kind of goat's cheese for this recipe. The wild arugula is complemented by the basil and cheese while the eggplant, chili and cilantro add a zingy Asian twist to a classy salad.
Arugula and Eggplant Salad with Goat's Cheese
Makes 2 entreè servings (About 270 cals per serving)
Prep time = 20 mins
Cook time = 20 mins
1 small eggplant, about 2 cups chopped
2 cups wild arugula
1.5 cup cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 small serrano chili, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup green onions, sliced thinly
1/4 cup jarred roasted yellow or red peppers, sliced thinly
2 oz. goat's cheese at room temperature
1.5 tsp minced garlic, about 3 cloves
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp sweet soy sauce
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup vegetable broth
1. Cut small eggplant into 2-inch cubes, yielding about 1 cup per person.
2. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet, and gently saute garlic for 1 minute.
3. Turn heat up and add in eggplant, oyster sauce, sweet soy sauce and low-sodium soy sauce.
4. Stir-fry for about 5 to 7 mins, coating eggplants with sauce.
5. Pour in vegetable broth, cover and simmer on medium heat until eggplants are perectly tender but not mushy. It should take about 10 minutes, be careful not to let the sauce dry out. If it starts getting a little too thick, add more broth.
6. Mix arugula, basil, tomatoes and onions together in a large bowl.
7. Crumble goat's cheese into salad mix and toss.
8. Spoon salad mix out onto a plate, add eggplant on the side with a little soy sauce mix from the pan. Drizzle salad with a little good quality extra virgin olive oil, garnish with cilantro, green onions and serrano pepper strips and serve.